PhD Student

Last application date
Aug 01, 2022 00:00
WE11 - Department of Biology
Limited duration
Master’s degree in Sciences: Biology, Bio-informatics, Bioscience Engineering, Oceanography or equivalent diploma
Occupancy rate
Vacancy type
Research staff

Job description

The Laboratory of Protistology and Aquatic Ecology (Ghent University) and Comparative Network Biology group (VIB) invite applications for a fully-funded PhD studentship for 1 year and extended with another 3 years (after positive evaluation) to study diatom speciation and adaptation.

Our understanding the processes underlying speciation and the genetic/phenotypic diversity of diatoms and other microalgae remains very limited, yet it is of crucial importance to predict their response to global change. The successful applicant will employ a combination of field, laboratory and population-genomic approaches to quantify gene flow in diatom metapopulations, to study local adaptation and to reconstruct the impact of past and ongoing gene flow on the evolution of their pan-genome. We offer an intellectually stimulating and international research environment, high-quality training to develop hard and soft skills, opportunities to participate in sampling campaigns and international scientific conferences, and a competitive salary including a bicycle commuting reimbursement. Ghent University is among the top global universities according to several international rankings.

The PhD project includes:

  • Further elaboration of a global collection of isolates of the benthic diatom species complex Seminavis robusta,
  • Quantifying the levels of introgression and pan-genomic differentiation based on genome resequencing of global isolates,
  • Developing and applying assays to quantify local adaptation and the strength of intrinsic reproductive barriers,
  • Characterizing divergence in the pheromone signaling cascade,
  • Writing scientific publications and presenting research at international conferences,
  • Supervising bachelor and MSc students during projects and practical courses.

Job profile

  • You hold a Master’s degree in Sciences: Biology, Bio-informatics, Bioscience Engineering, Oceanography or equivalent diploma. Holders of a PhD degree cannot apply.
  • You obtained excellent grades in your bachelor and MSc degree (i.e., you belong to the top 10% of your cohort).
  • You have a keen interest in both wetlab experiments as well as population genomics.
  • Practical expertise in aquatic microbial ecology and/or NGS data analysis/bio-informatics is strongly recommended.
  • You have excellent programming skills in Python or another scripting language and hands-on experience with R.
  • You have good communication and writing skills and have an excellent knowledge of written and spoken English.
  • You are self-critical, you work with rigor and attention for detail, and you work accurately.
  • You combine being a team player with a strong sense of autonomy and responsibility.
  • You are willing to participate in sampling campaigns and apply for additional funding when eligible.

What we offer you

  • A PhD scholarship of 1 year which can be extended with another three years after positive evaluation.
  • Your appointment will start by 01/09/2022 at the earliest.
  • You will receive a PhD scholarship according to the general conditions at Ghent University. The tax free scholarship includes full social security coverage. More information about this can be found on the Ghent University website.
  • You will work in a dynamic, international research group. All Ghent University staff members enjoy a number of benefits, such as 37 days of paid leave, a wide range of training and education opportunities, bicycle commuting reimbursement, etc. A complete overview of all our fringe benefits can be found on our website.

How to apply

All applications must be received no later than August 1st 2022 at with the following documents attached as one file:

  • application letter
  • curriculum vitae
  • a transcript of the required degree
  • names and contact details of at least two reference persons

Attention: Late applications are not accepted. As Ghent University maintains an equal opportunities and diversity policy, everyone is encouraged to apply for this position.

For more information about this vacancy please contact Prof. Wim Vyverman (, +32 (0) 9 264 85 01) of Prof. Klaas Vandepoele (, +32 (0)9 3313822).